Who talks more?

  • Ratan Bhattacharjee

    July 16, 2017 | 01:29 AM
women, biostatistics, talkativeness, genders

Representational image (Photo: Getty Images)

It is a common stereotype that women talk more than men. Researchers — led by Jukka-Pekka Onnela, assistant professor of biostatistics at Harvard School of Public Health and professor David Lazer at Northeastern University — have collected data to prove the point.

But the study pointed out a few more things, which men should also know. It showed that women talk significantly more than men but there is little difference in talkativeness between genders. Arianna Huffington, a director at Uber, was also stopped from talking too much by her male counterparts like David Bonderman, who even resigned from the Uber board in California on the pretext that the number of women should not be increased in the board.

Let us examine the scientific explanation before probing into the social perspectives. Researchers in Maryland University have found that women have higher levels of foxp2 protein. This excessive language protein in women makes them more vocal. Previously it was claimed that women speak 20,000 words a day compared to 13,000 words by men. Girls learn speaking earlier than boys and studies have shown that the female love of chit-chat begins at a young age. They produce their first words and sentences earlier, have larger vocabularies and use a greater variety of sentence types than boys of the same age.

Women talk more but they talk more significantly — a fact forgotten by men at times. They protest and continue it bravely. One still remembers how, just hours after Donald Trump was sworn in as the President of the US, women started taking to the streets. They protested in their droves to take a stand for women’s rights and make a show of solidarity. This cannot to be dismissed as merely an excess of language protein.

Women protest against terrorism across the globe. Recently in a show of solidarity with the victims of the London terror attack, Muslim women gathered on the Westminster Bridge. Four days earlier, the lone attacker Khalid Masood had rammed a car into pedestrians on the bridge killing three and leaving dozens injured.

That said, marginalisation of women has been going on for a long time. Some 2,000 years ago a Hebrew sage named Ben Sira wrote, “The birth of a daughter is a loss” and “Better is the wickedness of a man than a woman who does good”. Modern readers should rightly label such words as misogynistic. From Mesopotamia to Egypt, women in the ancient world were considered property. But there were still women like Ruth, Esther, Lydia and Priscilla. If a woman talks against this kind of patriarchal domination, then it is never a language protein excess syndrome. It is a necessity.

One interesting study has recently revealed that African-American women talk more than white women. It was done after an analysis of wireless bills by the Nielson Company. There may be several explanations for this but one is that many of those women do not have phones at home. While husbands sit around watching the television, wives often have to help their children with homework. And there you have the role of the excess language protein again!

All such examples prove the fact that women have to be more vocal in their daily lives. And the reason for the same is men!

The writer is associate professor and head, postgraduate department of English, Dum Dum Motijheel College, Kolkata